Category Archives: Action

The Predator

The Predator (2018)

*Minor spoilers*

We’re all really here for the alien action, right? Who cares about anything but how pretty The Predator is? Well, lucky for us, he’s back and looking as buff as ever and that’s even before his big evolved brother rocks up. The rest of it is… not great.

Marry me

Let’s start with Casey Bracket (the lovely Olivia Munn), a ballsy scientist with a special investment in space animals. She’s pretty good and more than just a pretty face, thankyouverymuch. Her connection to The Predator is a little flimsy, something about a letter to the president when she was a kid and I couldn’t even work out if she was joking. Anyway, she’s there when the freshly captured Predator busts loose and is lucky when he approaches her butt naked, unarmed form and decides to let her live. Oooh, fishy…

Then there are our ‘heroes’. First up Quinn McKenna (the unbearable Boyd Holbrook) who witnesses the crash landing of the Predator’s space ship. First on the scene and still reeling from the slaughter of his mercenary colleagues, Quinn does what any sensible person would in the same situation. He steels alien hardware (a helmet and wrist cuff) and posts them back to his PO Box in his hometown. Well THAT won’t come back to bite him in the arse will it?

Riding in prison buses with boys

Add to the mix the rest of the gang – and in my opinion the most important part of the movie – and, well it’s a bit hit and miss I’m afraid. When Quinn is detained by the authorities, he meets Nebraska, Coyle, Baxley, Lynch and Nettles (Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen and Augusto Aguilera respectively) – all bad (ish) men in trouble with the military – and admittedly, probably a good bunch to affiliate yourself with when shit hits the fan.

The Predator is exactly what you’d expect really. It’s a romp, it’s really stupid and it is enjoyable in places if you can suspend your disbelief. The rag tag bunch are fun if a little bit terrible (Nebraska is good but not the greatest stretch for an actor that moved me to tears in Moonlight).

The kids are alright

One of my main problems with it is that it feels like a kids film which doesn’t blend well with the hyper-gore (which I love). The focus around Quinn’s autistic son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) is interesting but gives it an 80’s Flight of the Navigator tone that doesn’t work for me. I want Shane Black on acid, using all the special effects he can in the modern day and some of them are just shocking. I’m quite sure he’s kept them schlocky as a nod back to the 80’s though which might have been a mistake. Also, our super villain Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) needs to shut his mouth. Literally. (Dude looks like a cow chewing cud and it’s really distracting).

My Rating

3/5.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

I loved this stupid film. I’m in love with Mila Kunis, sue me. Pair her with Kate McKinnon and as far as I’m concerned you’re onto a winner. It’s a very silly romp sure but a very good, girl power one.

When Audrey gets dumped over text by her elusive boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux), her BFF Morgan is on hand to help her through it. After attempting to burn his stuff, he gets in touch and tells her he’ll be home soon to explain everything. Unfortunately, before this happens she is accosted by the feds who reveal his true identity.

Audrey is shocked to learn that her boyfriend is actually a spy. Well, I’ve been out with much worse tbf. When Drew finally makes contact again, he gives her instruction to travel to Europe with a secret package which Morgan encourages her do because why not? Neither of them have ever been. And the rest is a blur of spy activity which the girls quickly discover they’re actually pretty good at.

But who are the good guys, who are the bad guys – and who the hell is Drew really? Via a backdrop of glamorous European locations and elaborate disguises, our girls get to the bottom of just what the fuck is going down – which they find is easier said than done.

Hot on their heels is nimble super assassin Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno) and the feds themselves, led by their boss Wendy (Gillian Anderson). There might be a new love interest in the mix too in the form of pretty Sebastian (Sam Heughan), one of the agents on Drew’s case.

Well it’s a romp alright and I laughed my arse off. McKinnon is always good but sometimes suffers for the material she’s given while Kunis has tremendous comic timing. Together I totally bought their chemistry as best friends – and I found it refreshing that there’s no side story in which the two of them fall out. Their friendship remains intact to the end.

I hope they turn this into a franchise because I haven’t had this much fun with female spies since well, Spy. But also Charlie’s Angels.

My Rating

4.5/5.

The Equalizer 2

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

*Minor spoilers*

McCall (Denzel Washington) is what my brother once called me: a groupie for the underdog. Not that he goes around sleeping with them you understand, it’s more that he has a very specific recipe for vengeance on behalf of those who have been wronged and might not be in a position to dish it out themselves. Among his assignments are a trip to Istanbul to recover a kidnapped child and a little light rape revenge.

Fans of the first Equalizer film (2014) probably remember it better than I do but this follows a similar pattern. Where back in ’14 McCall was just starting his new ‘quiet’ life, he is now quite settled in a nice block with good neighbours and a community that knows his face. He is well-loved and just ticking along doing his thing when things get real quick and this time, it’s fucking personal.

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“Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man…”

This sequel focuses also on Melissa Leo‘s Susan Plummer, long-time friend of McCall’s and all round boss bitch. When she uncovers too much about a certain crime and something nasty happens, it’s up to our boy Robert McCall to put two and two together and fight for his friend – will he? Of course he bloody will.

Meanwhile closer to home, will McCall also keep his pal and neighbour Miles (Ashton Sanders) on the straight and narrow? I’ll always be here for action, the more elaborate the better so I don’t mind when McCall puts down the bad guys without breaking a sweat, he’s a hero after all – but sometimes it does get a little bit laughable. Like, Denzel babe you’re in your sixties, have a little break.

However, the final action segment shot by the beach during a raging storm really conjures up an atmosphere and I think that’s the element that lifted this film from simply okay to very good.

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“I’m sorry you lost that fight with The Mountain buddy…”

This was, like Mission: Impossible – Fall Out, a well crafted caper and I enjoyed myself. Denzel is always top-notch, even in films I really don’t care for (Fences) so no shocker there – but his support in the form of Leo, Sanders and The Prince of Dorne himself, Pedro Pascal is pretty excellent too.

Roll on Part 3.

My Rating

3.5/5.

Mission: Impossible – Fall Out

Mission: Impossible – Fall Out (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.

*Minor spoilers*

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and pals (Ving RhamesSimon Pegg) accidentally bungle a mission, something to do with three stolen plutonium cores and believed-to-be-dead super villain Soloman Lane’s (Sean Harris) terrorist group “The Apostles”.

I mean, they only fuck up because they value friendship but the result is a pissed off CIA Director (Angela Bassett) and a new operative sent to shadow them and keep the team in check (a mustachioed Henry Cavill). As the gang, including their new mate Superman take action to make up for their mistakes and get hold of the damn plutonium, they’re forced to come face to face with Lane again. There are also tonnes of other spy scenarios and honestly, this is the film of the Summer, hands down.

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I’m not going to go into the intricacies of the narrative here, all I can say is that it’s tight AF with double crosses for dayzzz. We meet new characters, get to chill with familiar ones – all while Ethan wrestles broken helicopters, leaps off high-rise buildings and proves that Tom Cruise may be a fruit loop IRL but is still firmly in the top three action movies stars working today. And you can quote me on that, I actually love to watch him on the big screen and yes, I know he’s problematic.

Support is strong in the hands of Rhames and Pegg, while the women do not disappoint (obviously). Rebecca Ferguson returns as Ilsa Faust (she first appears in Rogue Nation) while Bassett is the Queen she always is. Vanessa Kirby is a lot of fun as The White Widow too. 

I loved this ride and I’m excited to see where it goes next. Not only is it one of the strongest in the series (Mission: Impossible III is my fave because of Philip Seymour Hoffman), it’s also one of the best films I’ve seen this year. 

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I’m ready for the all-female remake

Don’t sleep on this if you’re into action – try to catch it if you can.

My Rating

4.5/5.

 

Skyscraper

Skyscraper (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A father goes to great lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper.

*Spoilers*

This film does exactly what it says on the tin. Dwayne Johnson is Will Sawyer, a security expert (with a past) who is currently consulting in Hong Kong for ambitious Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) on the tallest skycraper in the world. It really is well tall.

His family are with him and staying in a luxury suite in the as yet not open Pearl tower. Sarah (super babe Neve Campbell) is a former military nurse and the couple have two adorable rugrats, Georgia and Henry (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell).

All is looking good until über-villain Kores Botha (Roland Møller) decides to fuck shit up and Will is forced to rescue his loved ones from the burning skyscraper, while also being accused of the terrorist act in the first place. What’s a guy to do though but roll up his sleeves and scale the building?

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It’s ridiculous of course but in the hands of The Rock it would be impossible not to enjoy the ride. Some of the lines are laugh out loud terrible and there is literally no realism to be had anywhere but that’s so overrated anyway.

The scale is awe-inspiring and the scenery looks great – so grab the popcorn and enjoy this bad boy for exactly what it is: pure, unadulterated, unabashed escapism.

My Rating

3/5.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.

*Spoilers*

This film has a crazy cool cast which doesn’t hurt it one bit.

While our leads, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are supported by the mighty Catherine Keener, some of the best performances come from the younger cast members, namely Isabela Moner and Elijah Rodriguez (both of whom I suspect we may see again in this very franchise).

I enjoyed this movie so much more than I thought I would and I think that’s because this time around it takes us under the skin of Del Toro’s Alejandro, who we first met in Sicario

Where Sicario focused on the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico, Day of Soldado examines the evolution of drugs trafficking into smuggling terrorists over the border. Which is distressing to watch anyway but in the current climate, it is brutal. One of the first scenes follows a handful of ISIS suicide bombers as they enter a supermarket and let’s just say the scene is devastating.

As a result of this particular bombing, the US government enlist the services of CIA Agent Matt Graver (Brolin), who is given permission to use any means necessary to combat the Mexican drug cartels (who are the ones doing the smuggling). AMN really means extreme measures and who better to call on for help than Black Op Alejandro Gillick (Del Toro) himself?

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Graver and the Department of Defense figure the best way to solve their problem is to start a war between the cartels, and Gillick is just perfect for the mission. First he murders a high-profile cartel lawyer in Mexico City, then the team kidnap the daughter of a rival kingpin (played by Isabela Moner) – and man does it all kick off from there.

Not everything goes according to plan though (go figure) and we follow both sides as the tale unravels. Gillick finds himself in a protective role as he and Isabela (the daughter) are accidentally separated from Graver and team.

As relations between the US and Mexico reach breaking point (following an explosive head to head between the team and Mexican police), the US government grow keen to distance themselves from the whole operation. Graver is forced to put Gillick in a tough position, and as choices are made and lines are drawn, the friendship is tested to the extreme.

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While all this pans out, we also follow Miguel Hernandez (Rodriguez) as he becomes more and more embroiled in his role as a Mexican-American “coyote” (people smuggler). What will become of Graver, Gillick and the rest of this crazy bunch?

Sicario: DotS may not be technically as brilliant as Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario (it’s not very far behind though) but I found myself enjoying it just as much. While we don’t witness the war through the eyes of Emily Blunt‘s idealistic FBI agent this time around, we do have Isabela, whose peepers are forced firmly open when she learns of the crimes of her father.

I’ve got a theory that we’re going to meet Isabela in the next installment and that her story will run parallel to Miguel’s. Good and bad, if you will – the light versus the darkness.

I can’t wait. 

My Rating

4/5.

I fancy Brolin and De Toro SO MUCH. Damn, boys.

Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and many more

IMDB Synopsis

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Where: Odeon Brighton
When: Saturday 28th April
Snacks: Popcorn and drink combo

*Spoilers*

My Review

Well this one is going to be a doozy to recap but I’ll do my best. Not all heroes wear spandex and hang out with Thor, you know?

In two words I think I could sum up Infinity War – “My heart” – but since this is a supposed film blog, more words are required. Here goes…

This film blew my tiny mind, made me feel excited once more to be immersed in the MCU (though to be fair this had already started with the first Guardians movies and from Homecoming to Black Panther) – something I never saw coming. Marvel Fatigue is an actual thing, a new sickness sweeping the nation but the fever’s broken and all is well again – that’s how I see it.

I want to be part of the action again and have strong feelings for so many of our protagonists – so you can imagine that this was a hard one to stomach given the way it leaves things.

Yes, yes – so many theories about the future of our favourites, I know but let’s just grieve for a little while.

Infinity War has so much going on that I won’t got through the plot bit by bit as I might normally, instead I think I’ll pick out the bits I super loved and scratch away at the tiny bits that didn’t work for me (there’s not much).

Best Bits

  • Literally everything and everyone in Wakanda, obvs. From Okoye (Danai Gurira) to BP himself (Chadwick Boseman) by way of Shuri (Letitia Wright) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) and his crew – it’s spot on. Wakanda forever indeed!
  • All the Guardians (not you Quill, see below) – particularly Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper).
  • Special shout out to teen Groot (Vin Diesel) who dominated his scenes in the most subtle way – and the teenager stereotype wasn’t overdone here, even though it is so accurate (step mum of a 13-year-old, yo).
  • Thanos (Josh Brolin) the super villain with an actual heart and an almost understandable agenda, even though it’s evil and obviously hugely misguided. As with Killmonger’s raison d’être in Black Panther, there’s a social commentary being made and it’s refreshing that these motivations are a grey area. It also allows us to feel something for our antagonists, if not total understanding – and I like that feeling, frankly.
  • Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), surprisingly. He featured way more than I expected and I like him, I really like him.
  • Spiderman’s (Tom Holland) scenes were all top-notch but I really enjoyed his film references and particularly replicating a scene from Aliens to save the day (temporarily). It would also be remiss to not mention his final scene which broke my heart cleanly in two.
  • Rocket and Groot teaming up with Thor (Hemsworth), the “Pirate Angel” – this new dynamic kept things fresh and really showcased Rocket’s comic timing. See also Rocket on the battle field with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Groot’s initial meeting with Cap (Chris Evans): “I am Steve Rogers”. PERFECTION.
  • Cap’s beard – also perfection.
  • Peter Dinklage as Eitri. I loved the whole forging of the axe segment on Nidavellir. Glorious and funny as Hell.
  • Girl power on the front line – when Okoye and Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) rock up to fight alongside Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), I cheered and then got a lump in my throat. Female unity hasn’t exactly been a thing like this before (or before BP, that is) and I’m here for all of it – more please Marvel. Also, the line: “She’s not alone”, pass the fucking tissues.
  • Hulk in hiding is a new exploration of PTSD and I liked this too – plus we get more Ruffalo screen time and the contrast between Bruce Banner and Hulk is really interesting – I look forward to seeing the jolly green giant again but for now: oh hai, Mark!
  • Also the awkward reunion of Romanoff and Bruce – so many emotions in one simple, brief exchange.
  • We got more from Scarlet Witch and her skills which I’m here for, as well as more Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) – although I don’t think Gamora can come back, I’m hopeful they’ll find a groove for Nebula somewhere and evolve her character more.
  • Dat post-credit scene, man. “Motherfu…”
  • And so many other scenes and little details that I’ve probably forgotten to mention.

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The Not So Best Bits

  • Could take or leave the Scarlet Witch/Vision (Paul Bettany) love-in. Wishy-washy as fuck. Also, how does he get into human form, is this a thing now?
  • Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) at the best of times but in this his petulance really came through and irritated me, not least because he fucks things up for the others. I get he’s got some grieving to do but look at the bigger picture, dude.
  • Not enough Wong (Benedict Wong) – where did he go, off to make a cuppa while the universe imploded? (Actually, fair play, that’s where I’d be).
  • It did seem just a teeny bit easy for Thanos to get all those Infinity Stones one by one (sacrificing his daughter aside).
  • No Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) or Korg (Taika Waititi)? Criminal!

So all in all, I am one happy fan-bunny (and I’m seeing it again tomorrow). While I had initial reservations about keeping up with so much, I think it was handled perfectly with little splinter groups mixing things up. Introducing new dynamics and building new relationships was a stroke of inspiration and one of my favourite elements. I can’t wait for Avengers 4 now.

All that build up over a decade and we get this: if not a masterpiece, then pretty blimmin’ close.

My Rating

5/5.